Rhabdomyolysis Symptoms, Definition & Treatment – Don’t Overdo it!

Such an interesting name for a condition, but Rhabdomyolysis is a very serious diagnosis that can take place on one’s fitness journey. Most training modules out there today are trending with high intensity and high volume movements. Program design usually consists of how many reps and how fast the reps. This approach is popular because it’s stimulating with variety and not focused on one type of exercise. Cardio and strength knocked out in the same workout is increasingly popular because we live in society that wants fast results in the least amount of time possible.

But the risks of a killer all-in-one workout may “outweigh” the benefits.

Here’s what can happen:

“Rhabdomyolysis is a very serious condition. It is characterized by the breakdown of muscle tissue that causes the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood. The products that are released from the muscles can be harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney damage” (Rhabdomyolysis, Ashmore, Amy, 2015 from Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) .

Workout goers want to feel the burn, leave soaking in sweat, and feel a sense of accomplishment. But overtraining or overexerting yourself is not the remedy for lasting, sustainable results without injury or failure.

In unscientific terms (meaning my own), this condition means that your muscle is breaking down faster than it can repair. One will experience extreme muscle cramps and fatigue, and taking in excess water or electrolytes isn’t enough to assist this problem. We’re talking hooking up to an IV status to hopefully flush the excess protein out of the blood before it reaches the kidneys to cause further damage.

Rhabdomyolysis Symptoms

Symptoms might vary, but mainly, “The ‘classic triad’ of rhabdomyolysis symptoms are:
– muscle pain in the shoulders, thighs, or lower back;
-muscle weakness or trouble moving arms and legs;
– dark red or brown urine or decreased urination”

Problems can arise with the liver, one can develop an irregular heart-beat, and of course kidney damage can occur. If any of the signs or symptoms arise, heading to the doctor is important. From there, “Blood tests for creatine kinase, a product of muscle breakdown, and urine tests for myoglobin, a relative of hemoglobin that is released from damaged muscles, can help diagnose rhabdomyolysis (although in half of people with the condition, the myoglobin test may come up negative)”.

Treatments of Rhabdomyolysis 

Exercise addicts sometimes are not aware of over-doing it. The endorphins of a killer workout are like a drug. Repeated movement patterns put wear and tear on the body. After all, when we are working out we are breaking down muscle fibers and it the repair through hypertrophy that we see later results. However, if the body isn’t given that window of time to repair, the breakdown is continuous.

Incorporating a rest day as well and understanding the pros and cons of what you are doing, are all important understandings you must have when you sign yourself up. Pace yourself, listen to your body, and although it is great to compete with yourself and others, make fitness a lifestyle habit and journey.

Don’t compromise the here and now for the long haul. When a doctor writes a prescription for “No Exercise”, maybe the wake-up call will be too late.  Healthy habits don’t involve a scary diagnosis. Lions and Tiger and Rhabdomyolysis – Oh My!!!!

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